Quebec carriage dispute heading to the CRTC

TVA Group will be required to "show cause" as to why the CRTC should not suspend its broadcasting licence at next week's hearing.

Quebecor-owned TVA Group will appear before the CRTC in Gatineau next week after the commission scheduled an extradited hearing to look into the broadcaster’s actions in the midst of a carriage dispute with Bell.

The commission said on Thursday that, “given the seriousness of the matter,” it requires TVA to be represented by its corporate officers at the April 17 hearing. The CRTC also invited Bell to appear as it is directly affected by the dispute.

The CRTC’s announcement came 19 hours after Quebecor cut the TVA Sports signal for all Bell TV subscribers in Quebec, with the channel going dark as the first of the NHL playoff games began. The dispute has arisen and escalated over the past week as the companies have seemingly reached a standstill in carriage renegotiations.

During the hearing, the CRTC will consider whether TVA has violated section 15(1) of the Discretionary Services Regulations, which requires programming undertakings to continue offering their services at the same rates and terms during carriage disputes and negotiations.

TVA will be required to “show cause” as to why the CRTC should not suspend its broadcasting licence. In addition, TVA will be asked to explain why the CRTC should not issue a mandatory order requiring TVA to comply with section 15(1) of the Discretionary Services Regulations.

The hearing begins at 10 a.m., April 17 at the CRTC’s headquarters in Quebec.

Image: Shutterstock

This story originally appears in Playback.